Sep 01 2015

Being a Good Egg About Calcium Intake

  • Written by  Saanich Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy
  • Published in Our Blog

There is more to preventing osteoporosis and bone fractures than calcium supplements, but that’s as good a place to start as any. There are so many different types of calcium out there. Which one is right for me?

Calcium can be found in many dairy products. One cup of milk provides 300mg of calcium. Other foods providing calcium include broccoli, sardines, white beans, cress, and tofu.

Adequate vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium. We get some vitamin D from fortified foods (cow’s milk, butter), fatty fish, egg yolks, and sun exposure.

Most calcium options out there are either carbonate or citrate. The carbonate form is better absorbed if taken after food. Citrate is not particular and has good absorption in the absence of stomach acid (or in instances of reduced stomach acidity). The carbonate form may be more constipating, which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your current bowel status.

There will be less available calcium per tablet/capsule in the citrate form, meaning you would need to take more pills throughout the day to get a desired amount of calcium when compared to the carbonate form. And calcium citrate tends to be the more expensive of the two.

It is best to divide your calcium doses up during the day to improve its absorption (maximum 500mg elemental calcium per time) and to avoid a spike in calcium blood levels (try 250mg at a time).

This information has been adapted, in part, from the Canadian Pharmacist’s Letter.